Cancer Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

The ghoul returns again to feast on the flesh of celebrities

I waited.

I knew it was coming. It had to. History was on my side. My quarry was nutty, but in a way exceedingly predictable. it wasn’t so much that I knew exactly what he would do. He wasn’t predictable in that way. It was that I knew he would do something crazy. Actually, on second thought, I did know what he was going to do. I had only to consider how ghoulishly he treated Tony Snow and Bernie Mac, and Tim Russert and how he leapt at the opportunity to abuse Christina Applegate. To him, when a dying celebrity like Patrick Swayze rejected quackery, it was more than he could stand. Whenever celebrities suffer from serious diseases cancer and especially when they die, he is there, looking for any opening to blame their suffering and death on that evil “allopathic” scientific medicine. And there were two major deaths last week. Both were big, but one was really, really big. I’m talking Elvis big. Best of all for him, one of them died of cancer and the other died mysteriously.

I knew my quarry would have a hard time resisting one of them, but I knew there was no way he could resist the death of both.

That’s right. You guessed it. That quack promoter supreme, that man for whom no quackery is too wild or improbable to embrace wholeheartedly, that master of hyperbole and lover of bad Hitler analogies and even worse cartoons, Mike Adams, creator of, has decided to apply his investigatory prowess to the recent deaths of Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, labeling them “the latest celebrity victims of big pharma.” Let me tell you, it’s vintage Adams, which means it’s vintage alt-med crazy turned up not just to 11 but to 20 and beyond:

(NaturalNews) That Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett both died in the last 48 hours is shocking news to many, but it’s not nearly as surprising as the fact that they were both killed by Big Pharma’s toxic drugs.

Do you understand why, although I despise the message Adams promotes, I still can’t help but check his website from time and derive enormous entertainment value from the sheer looniness found there. Looniness like this:

Michael Jackson, we now know, died from an injection of Demerol given by his doctor — a man who is now the subject of an LAPD manhunt. There is little question that the injection of Demerol — a potent pharmaceutical — caused Jackson’s death. Chalk it up to yet another tragic loss of a hugely inspiring artist who has become a victim of the pharmaceutical industry and overzealous medical doctors.

Demerol, by the way, is a highly-potent opioid drug that’s also highly addictive. And yet it’s being prescribed (and injected) by doctors with the full support of the FDA, the pharmaceutical industry and the conventional medical community. It is nothing less than amazing that mild drugs like marijuana remain outlawed while potentially deadly painkiller drugs like Demerol are openly injected into people by doctors.

Actually, it’s nowhere near certain that this is what happened. In fact, it’s highly unlikely, and, as we all know, Jackson’s doctor ultimately did turn up and cooperate with authorities. Still, I myself did wonder about reports that Michael Jackson was being injected with intramuscular Demerol. It’s something we used to do for pain commonly when I was a resident, but Demerol went out of favor, at least in surgical patients, a long time ago, mainly because it has a lot of side effects, including hallucinations, seizures, and arrhythmias, among others. It’s possible that a mixture of prescription drugs could have triggered Jackson’s cardiac arrest. However, even if Demerol were the cause of Jackson’s death, it would be nothing more than an indication how easily some physicians can enable celebrity drug addicts, not that the pharmaceutical industry caused Jackson’s death.

In a second article, Adams goes even further into his usual insanity. He declares that Michael Jackson was chemically manipulated for profit:

Although I have no specific proof of this, it is my belief that pharmaceuticals became the tools by which Michael Jackson’s handlers were able to chemically abuse him in their quest for further profits. With the right drugs, even a frail man can be artificially pumped up with enough energy to make a stage appearance — although at great cost to his vitality. And some of the drugs he was put on have the effect of turning you into a mind-numbed zombie, primed for mental manipulation.

I was shocked at this. No, I wasn’t shocked that Adams ghoulishly and opportunistically uses Michael Jackson’s death to castigate big pharma and rant about “toxic” drugs. That’s par for the course, and I’d have been surprised if Adams hadn’t ranted about that. No, what shocked me is that Adams actually admitted that he had no evidence for his belief. What shocked me is that he didn’t pull all sorts of coincidences out of his posterior as “evidence” for his paranoid delusions. What shocked me is that he didn’t make stuff up out of whole cloth as “proof” that his speculation is correct. Even more shockingly, he actually attributes some blame to Michael Jackson himself:

Certainly, Jackson himself is not free from responsibility in all this. His seemingly fanatical pursuit of cosmetic surgery might be called a form of self-inflicted medical abuse. Some of the drugs he was taking were no doubt pursued as a way to alleviate the possible pain and scarring resulting from so many surgical procedures. And yet for that, he can only blame himself, as those procedures were voluntary (and entirely unnecessary).

I don’t think I can recall Adams ever attributing any blame to any “victim” of big pharma. Could it be that he’s actually admitting that people can make their own choices? What a radical concept! After all, in every previous ghoulish appropriation of a celebrity death, Adams always paints the “victim” as helpless and hopelessly duped by the minions of big pharma.

Which is what he does with Farrah Fawcett:

Farrah Fawcett’s death was far less sudden than Jackson’s, but no less innocent. She was killed by chemotherapy — a toxic cocktail of chemicals pushed onto patients by oncologists who deceptively call it “treatment.”

Against the advice of many in the natural health community, Fawcett gave in to her doctors and agreed to be poisoned as a treatment for anal cancer. But what she didn’t know is that one of the most common side effects of chemotherapy is more cancer! And after subjecting her body to more chemotherapy, it wasn’t long before Fawcett was diagnosed with liver cancer. (Chemotherapy causes terrible harm to the liver, heart, kidneys and brain…)

The stupid, it burns. No, it goes beyond that. This is the proverbial black hole of stupid whose woo-gravitational field attracts all vestiges of science, rational thinking, and intellgence, sucking them into its insatiable maw and destroying them.

Here’s a hint, Mike: Fawcett did not have “liver cancer” as a result of chemotherapy. She had anal cancer. She was treated with the standard therapy for anal cancer, specifically a protocol of combined chemotherapy and radiation known as the Nigro protocol. Unfortunately, she recurred, apparently both locally and in her liver. In other words, she had metastases from anal cancer in her liver. The chemotherapy didn’t cause them. Rather, Fawcett had the misfortune of having been a patient for whom the Nigro protocol failed. Unlike Adams’ quackery, which according to him virtually always works (never mind that there’s no evidence that it works at all), conventional cancer therapies don’t always work. Unlike the quacks whose quackery Adams advertises, doctors practicing science-based medicine don’t promise that they can cure everyone with no side effects.

It’s also rather telling that Adams neglected to mention that Fawcett pursued various “alternative” cancer treatments rather vigorously. She headed to the German Alps to visit clinics renowned for their woo. Admittedly, she also pursued experimental therapy administered by Professor Thomas Vogl, who used high tech methods to ablate the tumors in her liver and deliver chemotherapy directly into them. None of it worked. Sometimes nothing does. Remember one of “Orac’s laws”? Specifically, I’m referring to the observation that, whenever a believer in alternative medicine uses both scientific medicine and alt-med and gets better, inevitably she will attibute her good fortune to the alt-med, not the science-based medicine? There’s a corollary to that law, namely the reverse: If a patient using both alt-med and scientific medicine dies, it’s always the fault of the scientific medicine, particularly if chemotherapy was involved. Always. Heads I win, tails you lose, just like this:

Cancer doctors operate with that sort of clever deception: If the cancer goes away, they claim the patient was “treated by the medicine,” but if the patient dies, they claim “the cancer killed them.” It’s pretty easy to claim success if you take credit for the wins while fleeing the any responsibility for the losses.

Actually, alt med goes beyond that. If the cancer goes away, thanks to chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation but the patient is also using woo, then obviously the woo cured the cancer, but if the patient dies then obviously it must have been the chemotherapy. They don’t even claim that it was a treatment failure and that the cancer killed the patient. They can’t admit a treatment failure because to do so would be to admit that their quackery doesn’t cure patients 100% of the time. So it must have been the evil chemotherapy that interfered with the “natural remedies” and “destroys the immune system” because to say otherwise would be to admit something Adams doesn’t want to admit.

Finally, no Mike Adams rant is complete without his most despicable ploy of all. As with Tony Snow, Adams goes beyond blaming chemotherapy and modern medicine for Farrah Fawcett’s death. He has to go beyond that to playing the “if only” card. “If only” Farrah had used his “natural cures,” she’d still be alive:

Back to Farrah, while many of her friends and supporters say her battle with cancer was “an inspiration,” let me be the first to publicly state that to me, poisoning yourself with toxic chemicals is NOT inspiring, no matter how much suffering you go through. I do not believe that people should be given special recognition for pain and suffering they consciously choose to inflict upon themselves, especially when all that suffering is easily avoidable. It would have been far more “inspiring” for Farrah to choose healing remedies instead of deadly poisons.

Had she chosen natural remedies, she could have skipped all the pain and suffering, restored her immune function, reversed her cancer and gone on to live a much longer and more abundant life. (It would have saved her a small fortune in medical costs, too…)

But she didn’t choose natural health (nutrition, vitamin D, immune support, superfoods and medicinal herbs). Instead, she chose poison. As a result, her decision to ravage her body’s health through “slash and burn” medicine ultimately cost more than her body could afford to pay.

If only Farrah had chosen Adams’ quackery, she’d still be alive! Really! How does Adams know? Evidence? What evidence? Don’t ask. Just trust Mike Adams. Of course, Mike Adams again neglects to note that Farrah didn’t exactly eschew “natural” therapies. After all, she went to woo-friendly clinics in Germany. But it couldn’t have been the cancer or the woo that killed Fawcett. Oh, no. Not to Adams. No, it had to be the chemotherapy, and it had to be that evil scientific medicine and big pharma that duped Fawcett:

The medical industrial complex, in other words, has conspired to keep the American people uninformed and diseased, making them dependent on the for-profit medical system that dominates modern medicine. That Farrah Fawcett actually made a conscious decision to allow her body to be destroyed by chemotherapy is an indication of just how insidious and manipulative our conventional medical system really is.

His solution? Read and learn about quackery like the Gerson therapy. Yeah, that’ll save your live if you have cancer. You might as well do nothing at all. Actually, with something like the Gerson therapy or the Gonzalez therapy, you’d probably be better off doing nothing at all. At least then you wouldn’t be expected to be doing coffee enemas and sucking down hundreds of supplements a day while eschewing adequate therapy. You might as well put a gun to your head and pull the trigger in slow motion.

Certainly that’s what it feels like at times reading the idiocy that is Mike Adams.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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